From School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Russell Trainer, a seventh grader at Parkland Middle School, is being bullied. After a particularly bad episode, he reaches out for help to another boy who is the target of daily bullying at school. The two new friends notice that there's also a girl being harassed, and the three join forces to create a place online for bullied kids to publish their stories via the school's Internet service. The Bully Lab becomes a way for them to give voice to their feelings without the fear of being ridiculed. But when one of the bullies plays a prank on the trio, the principal calls an end to the email forum for fear of being sued. Russell and his friends prevail in the end, with a satisfying closure to the story. While the plot is predictable, Doug Wilhelm's honest story (Square Fish, 2011) will resound with kids who have experienced similar situations. Jon Toppo's narration lacks consistency, making it difficult to follow the characters when more than one person is speaking in a scene. Listeners will find it a challenge to connect to and stay with the audio version.-Lyn Gebhard, Sparta Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Gr. 4-6. Wilhelm takes a fresh path down some well-trodden territory in this book about bullying. Seventh-grader Russell, who is being physically terrorized, reaches out to a geek named Elliot and to Catalina, who has incurred the wrath of seventh-grade queen Bethany and her minions. The kids first become friends and then devise a way to use the school's pilot project e-mail system to tell their stories--and the stories of other kids who are subject to regular bullying. Readers will identify with many of the elements Russell talks about in his earnest first-person narrative: the impotent anger; ineffectual parents; obtuse teachers who smile at the wrong kids. The plot structure is readily apparent, so it's no surprise when the kids' publication causes trouble or when the heavily foreshadowed science fair redeems the trio. Readers won't mind, though; books like this make them feel less alone. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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